Karen Immell and Jenn Schlotbom have worked together at ERS for two years. Karen is the Director of Community Relations at Deupree House, and Jenn is the Director of Community Relations at Marjorie P. Lee.
The Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree House independent living communities in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park neighborhood are connected by Episcopal Retirement Services, their parent organization. But that’s not the only common link.
In 2023, Karen Immell was named director of community relations at Deupree House after serving in the same role at Marjorie P. Lee for many years. Jenn Schlotbom, whom Karen mentored, took the reins as director of community relations at Marjorie P. Lee.
Their respective roles include reaching out to the community, inviting people to tour the campus, and answering future residents’ questions. In addition to hosting marketing events, they provide people with information that helps them prepare to move into the communities and become more comfortable in their new homes.
Jenn and Karen met recently to discuss their roles.
What services do you provide for older adults planning to move to your campus?
Karen: At Deupree House, independent living is the focus. The older adults and their families I meet want the freedom to live on their own terms without the weight of home maintenance and upkeep. I help them choose the apartment layout that suits their lifestyle. I connect them with experts who can advise them about their transition, whether that means rightsizing their belongings, selling their home, or moving. I also connect them with our Move-in Coordinator, Donna Dorger. She handles every detail to get the apartment ready to their preferred specifications. She works with contractors on the new resident’s choices to make the apartment like home for them. This alleviates so much of the stress of the move.
Jenn: At Marjorie P. Lee, our residents may come when they are independent or need more assistance, such as memory care or long-term skilled nursing. We help families find the level of care that offers the right amount of support to give their loved ones an easy transition. We plan together and match them with the best option, the right fit, for them. Once they initiate a move, we help them create an apartment that looks like their home as much as possible. We are their partner in making a smooth transition to help them settle in.
Karen: At both communities, we make the fitness center, fitness classes, activities, trips, and outings available to our future residents on the waitlist. They can also make a dinner reservation.
Jenn: Future residents can get a jump on meeting neighbors and staff. This helps them get a feel for the culture and become familiar with the campus. Before moving, they start to make connections emotionally, physically, and intellectually.
Independent retirement living at Deupree House offers wellness and fitness programs, gracious dining, numerous activities for socializing to catch up with friends — or a quiet place to read a good book.
Do you have an example of the benefits of moving?
Karen: So many residents say, “I’m glad I didn’t wait.” They move in while they have a lot of living to do. They make new friends and experience the best that retirement has to offer. Some even say they wish they had moved in earlier.
Jenn: One new resident told me, “This is my land cruise.” She and her husband are snowbirds and spend winters down south and on cruises. She still enjoys baking every day, and they had the apartment customized to their needs. There are so many possibilities to try new things or keep doing what you love but scrap what you don’t like — housework, laundry, or cooking. You have the freedom to do what suits you.
Retirement Planning 101:
Can I afford to live at Deupree House?
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? And the most challenging?
Karen: Watching people move in and regain their confidence and seeing the anxiety melt away is the most rewarding. By the time they move in, we are friends. I love that part of my job. I have made so many friends here — team members and residents.
Jenn: A resident told me just a few days after her move, “I belong here.” That is so rewarding to hear. We get very connected to our residents. We are fortunate to be part of their amazing lives.
Karen: I can sum up the challenges in one word: paperwork! (laughs)
Jenn: True. And pre-move support — ensuring people remain confident in their decision to move – can be challenging sometimes.
Working so closely, you two have built a strong relationship. What is something you admire about each other?
Karen: Jenn is passionate; she is my buffalo hunter. She discovers issues before they become problems. She is present, heart and soul, with anyone she works with.
Jenn: I couldn’t have developed in my career without working for Karen. She holds true to the person-centered values of our organization. She is all about the team and getting to know people on a personal level. I value her knowledge and dedication to those we serve.
Are you considering moving to independent living? We invite you to consider what retirement living in Hyde Park could mean to you. Contact Karen at Deupree House at 513-561-4200 to schedule a tour. To schedule a tour of Marjorie P. Lee, contact Jenn at 513-533-5000.